Complaints about Invoice Finance and Asset Based Lending members of UK Finance (formerly ABFA)

 

Ombudsman Services considers complaints about about providers of invoice finance (factoring and invoice discounting) or asset based lending that are members of UK Finance (formerly the Asset Based Finance Association - ABFA).

UK Finance represents nearly 300 of the leading firms providing finance, banking, markets and payments-related services in or from the UK. UK Finance has been created by combining most of the activities of the British Bankers’ Association, the Council of Mortgage Lenders, Financial Fraud Action UK, Payments UK and the UK Cards Association along with those of the ABFA.

The activities of UK Finance Invoice Finance and Asset Based Lending (referred to as IFABL) members are covered by the Standards Framework. This includes a Code setting the principles that should be met in the delivery of these products and services, an independent complaints procedure for clients and guarantors who have complaints about its members and the availability of recourse to the ombudsman where complaints cannot be resolved by members.  This is provided by Ombudsman Services.  The Standards Framework also includes an independent Professional Standards Council.

Please note Ombudsman Services can only deal with complaints about IFABL members of UK Finance; broadly speaking these are the members of the former ABFA. It cannot consider complaints about the provision of any other products or services by UK Finance members, although other products and services will often be covered by statutory regulatory regimes and complaints processes.

When we can help

Before you can access our service you must contact the factoring, invoice discounting, or asset based lending company to tell them that you are unhappy. The company must first have the opportunity to resolve the problem for you. The UK Finance IFABL members are required to have their own complaints processes, which must be followed. If the company is unable to resolve the complaint for you, you must contact the IFABL team at UK Finance to let it know you have a complaint about one of its members.  The team can be contacted on +44 (0) 203 934 1456 and IFABLstandards@ukfinance.org.uk.

There are some rules about when we can help

Before UK Finance will formally accept your complaint and refer it to us you must:

  • formally register your complaint with the company involved; and allow the UK Finance IFABL member 12 weeks to resolve it; and
  • not have already accepted a final settlement or resolution in relation to the complaint; or
  • have received a deadlock letter* from the company.

*A deadlock letter is an official letter to you confirming that it has not been possible to resolve the complaint and you have not already accepted a final settlement or resolution in relation to the complaint.

Telling UK Finance about your complaint

If 12 weeks have passed, or you have a deadlock letter, you should then formally register your complaint with the IFABL team at UK Finance. UK Finance will apply the following guidelines:

  • You must be, (or have been at the time the complaint arose), a prospect, client, or a guarantor/indemnifier of a client of an IFABL member of UK Finance.
  • At the point a complaint is received by UK Finance or Ombudsman Services, the company about which the complaint relates must be an IFABL member of UK Finance.
  • The complaint must be received from an officer of the business, such as a director or proprietor, (or an authorised representative), or a guarantor or indemnifier who has directly given a personal guarantee and/or indemnity to the IFABL member of UK Finance.

UK Finance will log your complaint and ensure that all the necessary information is available before passing your complaint to us.

Who can we help?

We can only consider complaints about IFABL members of UK Finance. Check the UK Finance website to see if the company you want to complain about is an IFABL member of UK Finance. 

Our services are available to prospective clients, clients and guarantors who have a complaint about an IFABL member of UK Finance. 

This service is available to businesses with an annual turnover of up to £6.5 million / €7.7 million. This covers over 80% of the industry’s current client base. This threshold will be subject to review.

You must tell UK Finance about your complaint within 12 months from the date you first complained to its member.

If you would prefer someone else (a third party, eg a solicitor) to handle your complaint for you, we can make arrangements with you to do this.


What we can deal with

We can deal with complaints where:

  • the complaint relates to a factoring, invoice discounting and/or asset based lending facility or a proposed facility through an existing an IFABL member of UK Finance; and the annual turnover (revenue) of the business does not exceed £6.5 million; and
  • the action or actions relating to the complaint took place after 1 July 2013; and
  • the complainant is not seeking a financial award of greater than £28,000 in relation to the dispute (these are limits to any award we can make).
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What we cannot deal with

We cannot accept a complaint if:

  • You gave the UK Finance member notice of the matter which is subject to the complaint more than 12 months before contacting UK Finance or Ombudsman Services.
  • The compliant started and was raised with the UK Finance member before 1 July 2013 (service start date).
  • The complaint is made to UK Finance or Ombudsman Services more than six months after the member advised the client that it is unable or unwilling to resolve the complaint to the complainant’s satisfaction - for example in a deadlock letter.
  • The complaint appears to be frivolous or vexatious.
  • The complaint is currently being considered by the Financial Ombudsman Service.
  • The complaint has no reasonable prospect of success, recovery or redress.
  • The complaint is not about an IFABL member of UK Finance.
  • The complaint has been or is subject to court proceedings, arbitration, or other independent procedure for the resolution of the complaint or dispute (unless there is proof that the aforementioned process has been abandoned, stayed or suspended).
  • The complaint is primarily about the behaviour of ‘third parties’ such as advisors, brokers, lawyers or insolvency practitioners (many of these firms or professions will have their own regulatory or self-regulatory system in place.  Complaints about the behaviour of such third parties should be made to the relevant organisations). 
  • The complaint was previously examined, unless significant evidence has come to the attention Ombudsman Services that may have a material impact on the previously reached decision

 

Ombudsman Services’ discretion

Ombudsman Services has absolute discretion to decide whether a complaint is within its terms of reference.

Resolutions

It is not our role to punish companies when deciding what solution to provide. Our awards will be proportionate and will take into account all of the facts in the complaint.

How might things be put right?

If we decide to make an award, and you accept it, the company must take the action that we require. This might include:

  • a service or a practical action, 
  • an apology;
  • an explanation of what has happened; or
  • a financial award

If a financial award is needed, this will be an amount that we consider appropriate to the individual complaint. We can award up to £28,000.